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A dataset is a collection of data usually organized in a tabular display that corresponds with several tables. In most datasets, the columns represent specific variables while the rows represent certain records within the dataset. A dataset may include additional files or documents that provide statistical information on a specific subject.
In data science and analytics, datasets are used to create statistics or infographics that illustrate certain issues or facts. You may need to use a dataset to assist with:
- Assignments while pursuing your master’s in data science degree.
- Generating actionable insights for your boss or a company relying on data analytics.
- Creating a graphic that summarizes important facts or trends in a simple, visual way.
- Analyzing the choices or patterns consumers, customers, or users are prone to making.
- Testing the functionality of your .
If you’re new to datasets, Kaggle is a great site that will help you explore different datasets and get excited about all the possibilities in data science and analytics. The following websites also offer datasets that are free for public use. Review these sites so you can learn where to access datasets to practice data analysis, test your management system, or find statistics to assist with an upcoming project.
The BuzzFeed site is known for providing unbiased news and information on current events. The site also conducts numerous surveys and pulls data to formulate statistics that relate to these current events. You can visit the BuzzFeed archives section or use the site’s search function to pull stories that relate to the subject you need more data about.
You may also visit a reliable dataset resource site, such a GitHub, to find BuzzFeed datasets. When you locate the dataset you need, consider linking back to the article to find the data or download the dataset directly from the site.
BuzzFeed has covered numerous topics over the years so the free datasets available to you may vary. Some of the datasets you may find on the site include:
- Fake news sites and viral posts.
- The movement of COVID-19 cases in several major cities.
- Contributions to presidential campaigns.
- Analysis of Federal Communications Commission data breaches.
- Gentrification tracking in major cities.
If you’re in the process of earning an online master’s degree in data science, datasets on the BuzzFeed site may be helpful in upcoming projects. You can also use this data to learn more about how recent events have impacted the world or to create your own infographics to help viewers understand the effects of these events.
Reddit is a public, user-generated content sharing site that allows users to post information and observations. As a collection of forums that allows users to interact with one another and provide opinions on issues, Reddit wouldn’t usually be considered a top source for datasets. However, within these discussion boards lies an entire community dedicated to data. Users in this subsection of the site request, discuss and exchange datasets for free.
Reddit users post datasets that offer useful information and statistics relating to current news stories. Since all data is submitted by Reddit users, it may not be verified. It’s important to only use data retrieved by the dataset forum at your own risk.
To access these datasets, visit the data visualization aids to post on blogs, social media, or company websites.
In some cases, users are simply looking for datasets they can download to practice grouping information or to study data organization techniques. Users may also find it beneficial to download datasets from Reddit to learn how data behaves within a management system.
Socrata OpenData is an expansive open portal that contains many datasets covering various topics and issues. With so much extensive data offered on the site, users may find it overwhelming to search for certain subjects that relate to the datasets they need. However, the Socrata OpenData homepage offers many strategies to filter the datasets available so you can identify the ones you need for your specific project.
You can sort available datasets by authority, category, view type, or tag. It’s important to know a little about the subject you’re investigating so it’s easier to choose the categories and how you want to retrieve the datasets before searching.
When the site retrieves your related data, review the date the dataset was uploaded. With such an expansive portal, some data may be older so you’ll need to find updated sets to use for the most accurate information.
If you choose to sort your data source by “Community” instead of “Official,” the datasets that appear are uploaded by site users. They may not be as accurate or reliable as those provided by authorities.
The Socrata OpenData site is known for providing free public datasets in countless categories, including:
- Facebook marketing costs.
- Music sales data.
- Payroll reports for Senate employees.
- Radiation analysis data throughout the U.S.
- Fatalities in the workplace, sorted by state.
When you find a dataset that relates to your project, you have the option to download the set to your computer. You may also visit the link to the data source or contact the dataset owner, if available.
If you’re interested in using your computer to study data science as it relates to finances, you may find Quandl datasets useful. This site offers free public datasets about financial and economic issues. However, some of the more extensive datasets may require payment.
When you visit the site, access these datasets by creating an account and searching by the data category. Categories you may choose from include:
- U.S. stock prices.
- Auto sales estimates.
- Historical U.S. equity information.
- Global index prices.
- Company spending patterns.
Download datasets directly to your device to import them into a data management system or review statistics that are useful for your project.
Free public datasets are helpful if you’re trying to expand your data science skill set, work on a project, or create infographics and visualizations for your business. These websites offer expansive datasets you can download to help achieve your data analytics goals.
Last updated: September 2020